Taliban reject G-8 allegations - Syed Anwer (Frontier Post)
PESHAWAR: Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban spokesman in his reaction to the G-8 group joint declaration against Taliban, has said that all the allegations levelled by its leaders were a part of propaganda against Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz, the spokesman of Taliban while talking to The Frontier Post said that the G-8 countries should reassess the sanctions imposed on Afghanistan because these sanctions were adversely affecting Afghan men, women and children.
He said that Taliban wanted good relations with world community, especially G-8 countries.
Afghan diplomats while pointing towards the role of Loya Jirga in connection with establishing a broad-based government in Afghanistan and said that a broad-based government was already working in his country and those talking about such issues were actually committing interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
While commenting on the policy of Afghan Islamic Emirate about the G-8 joint communique, Abdul Wakil Omari, the Taliban Information ministry official said that the Islamic Emirate had time and again invited those countries which levelling charges of terrorist camps in Afghanistan to come to our country and pinpoint the alleged camps which we would certainly close down.
The official further said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan had imposed laws based on the fundamental Islamic teachings and all the minorities as well as women enjoyed full security in the light of these teachings.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A diplomat representing Afghanistan's Taliban rulers said suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden should be praised for his services to Afghanistan and vowed never to deliver him to the United States, a news agency reported.
``Osama is our benefactor and a holy warrior,'' Abdul Salam Zaeef told Pakistani religious students Saturday in Abbottbad in northwestern Pakistan, according to the News Network International.
Zaeef, the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, said handing bin Laden over would betray ``our sacrifices,'' referring to the Islamic insurgency against the invading Soviet Union in 1979. ``Osama's protection is our moral and Islamic duty,'' he said.
Bin Laden, who helped fight against Russian soldiers throughout their 10-year occupation of Afghanistan, is accused by the United States of masterminding bombings that killed 224 people at two American embassies in Africa in 1998.
The billionaire Saudi exile has been living since early 1996 in Afghanistan, where he was granted refuge status. The United States imposed sanctions against Afghanistan to punish the Taliban for not handing over bin Laden, and last year, at American urging, the United Nations did the same.
Zaeef said the United States has no evidence of bin Laden's involvement in terrorism.
The Taliban militia controls about 95 percent of Afghanistan and espouses a strict version of Islam. But most Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan, which is considered a close ally of the Taliban, have said the Taliban's version of Islam reflects their tribal culture rather than Islamic teachings. (AP)
STATEMENT - On the Human Rights Watch Report on Afghanistan
As received from ISA/UF Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
The Islamic State of Afghanistan highly values the report on Afghanistan released on 12th July 2001 by Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled "Crisis of Impunity".
The report provides an exhaustive description of the human rights situation in Afghanistan, predominantly featuring the Taliban mercenaries' widespread and systematic abuse and violations of human rights and the enormous scale of perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Afghanistan.
The report also embodies an in-depth analysis of the dynamics of the protracted conflict in Afghanistan, and thereby the conspicuous and pivotal role of the Government of Pakistan in navigating the course of events for the past two decades, who continues to be unabatedly involved in the continuation and exacerbation of the situation to date.
The Islamic State of Afghanistan regards the "Crisis of Impunity" as a true reflection of the plights and agonies of the Afghan nation suffering under imposition of a reign of terror by the Taliban mercenaries, and as a valid testimony to the victimization of the people of Afghanistan by the persistent aggression of the politico-military establishments of the neighboring Pakistan.
Studied and elaborate, the report, however, bears an extent of aberrations and misrepresentation of facts referring to the Islamic State of Afghanistan, perhaps attributable to a misconception vying with the shared comprehension of the international community of the situation in Afghanistan, which entails the following points to be put in perspective:
1. Page 23 of the report recognizes the direct involvement of the Government of Pakistan in the conflict in Afghanistan and the physical presence of armed Pakistani and other foreign nationals fighting alongside the Taliban mercenaries against the Islamic State of Afghanistan, among them, Arab recruits estimated by the HRW report between 8-15000. This recognition yet corroborates the report on November 2000 by the UN Secretary-General, which openly confirms the provision by the Government of Pakistan of direct combat support to the Taliban mercenaries in Afghanistan. Ironically, however, despite the legalistic approach in its findings based on human rights and humanitarian laws, instruments, and other recognized principles and norms of international law, the HRW report fails to conclude that Pakistan indeed is the aggressor and Pakistani involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan constitutes an aggression against a sovereign and independent member-State of the United Nations.
The United Nations Charter and all major world legal systems recognize the inherent right of self-defence against an armed attack. The Islamic State of Afghanistan, as a globally recognized Government personifying an independent and sovereign State, has been in a state of self-defence against the aggression of Pakistan and its international terrorist allies. Dismayingly, against this background, the report falls short of drawing a distinction between those righteously fighting for their independence, resisting the aggression and upholding noble human principles, and an axis of obscurantist and extremist forces engaged in a war of aggression.
2. The viewpoints of HRW on the regime of sanctions imposed against the Taliban mercenaries and its stated prognosis of the lifting of the sanctions are anachronistic. In fact it dose not reflect evolution of the international law following the establishment of the United Nations. Stated thus, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and in conformity with the established practice of the organization there is no solid reason for the HRW prescribed application of sanctions against the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
The HRW envisioned lifting of arms embargo conditioned upon the observation of human rights and international humanitarian law (P. 8-9), conceptually does not exclude the use of force and the conflict per se, rather suggests to regulate "humanize" it. Contrarily, all UN resolution adopted thus far on Afghanistan have perpetually emphasized a peaceful settlement of the conflict and non-resort to war as a means to settle disputes, as consistent to the relevant provisions enshrined in the UN Charter. It is astonishing to note that HRW lays so much stress on Jus Belli, while the resort to war as a means to settle disputes is banned and has widely been condemned by the international law, precisely since the birth of the United Nations Organization.
3. The HRW report focuses mainly on the situation of human rights in the zone of conflicts, while it overlooks the widespread and systematic violations of human rights, including the human rights of women and girls, perpetrated in the occupied parts of Afghanistan under the military control of the Taliban mercenaries and their Pakistani and other foreign obscurantist and fanatic collaborators, who continue to pursue their heinous practice of gender-apartheid.
4. Even though the report elaborates on the primary and distinguished role of Pakistan in the conflict in Afghanistan and its blatant violations of sanctions imposed against the Taliban mercenaries, it fails to give a correct political panorama of the situation in the context of the region. It is critically important to realize that Pakistan remains as a major actor on the scene of insecurity and instability across Central and South- Asia. A close glimpse of the situation in the region easily accounts for the concerns of the countries of the region, legitimate as they are, as a counteraction to the hegemonic and aggressive policies of Pakistan and its long-pursued agenda for Talibanization of the region. As such the Government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan has the fullest right to defend its sovereignty and independence against the ongoing Pakistani aggression and take appropriate measures in full conformity with the UN Charter and international law of the past and present century.
PESHAWAR: Security personnel of Ahmad Shah Masood, leading anti Taliban Northern Alliance have taken into custody an armed group in Jabalus Siraj accused of having secret contacts with ruling Taliban.
According to details, the security men of the Northern Alliance commonder in, Ahmad Shah Masood nabbed a group red handed while making contacts with Mohammad Fazil nicknamed Sayyaf Jabalus Siraji of the Taliban movement.
The Afghan sources reported that due to the help of its secret information, the Taliban militia used to bombard the positions of the Northern Alliance forces in Jabalus Siraj, the capital of Parwan province.
The report further revealed that the men of the said group were fully armed with automatic rifles and were trying to persuade the local commanders for a rebellion against the Northern Alliance set-up there.
It may be recalled that Mohammad Fazil had been the commander of Ahmad Shah Masood in Parwan province in the past and a government servant during the Rabbani government.
He joined the Taliban ranks some three years back and is still their staunch supporter.
When The Frontier Post contacted Taliban official in Kabul for his comment regarding this report, Information ministry official said he was not in a position to comment about it.
Cholera kills 130 in Afghanistan - Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The death toll from cholera in a northern Afghanistan town beseiged by the Taliban militia has climbed to 130.
The opposition has warned the number of deaths will continue to rise due to a lack of medical facilities.
It says at least two thousand people are infected by the disease but so far the town has received no help from the United Nations, the International Red Cross or any other relief agency.
TEHRAN, July 21 (Reuters) - Iranian police have killed 15 armed Afghan bandits and injured 24 others during several shoot-outs in the northeast of country, state television said on Saturday.
One Iranian policeman was killed in the clashes which occurred "in the past few days" in the province of Khorasan, near the border with Afghanistan, the television report said.
It added that police had seized 300 kg (660 lb) of drugs and confiscated weapons and ammunition, as well as 10 vehicles.
Iran is a major drug transit route from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the so-called "Golden Crescent ", to lucrative markets in Europe and oil rich Gulf Arab states.
The country also suffers from a domestic drug abuse problem with about two million addicts and casual users in a population of around 65 million.
Iran spent nearly $20 million last year to fight drug trafficking and armed thousands of villagers on its eastern borders. Official reports say about 3,100 police officers have been kiled in drug related clashes during the last 20 years.
Police arrest 100 illegal Afghan refugees in Fars
Mehriz, Yazd prov., July 21, IRNA -- Police in Mehriz said here Saturday that they have arrested 100 illegal refuges planning to go to Isfahan and Tehran. The refugees were traveling on a bus, using darkenss as cover, when they were identified and arrested. In this connection two people were arrested and charged with trafficking Afghan refugees and handed to the judicial authorities, said the police. The local police have so far in the current Iranian year (started March 21) arrested 700 Afghan refugees and after processing their cases, repatriated them to their own country, the statement stated. Last week, Iranian officials warned the undocumented Afghan refugees that they face expulsion within two months. "It is not possible for Iran to house refugees illegally entering the country and if they refuse to return (to their home country) voluntarily, police will detain them," Safar Eslami, the provincial director-general for aliens affairs, told a group of Afghans. The Iranian government, he said, will implement its decision not withstanding the fact that `Afghanistan is hit by civil war, severe drought and famine'. "Afghans who have failed to sign up in accordance with a national program to identify foreign immigrants are subject to the decision," Eslami said. Iran is home to one of the world's largest refugee population which is a direct result of a long drawn-out war plaguing neighboring Afghanistan.
82,000 Afghans expelled from Iran
ISLAMABAD (SANA): As many as 82,000 Afghan refugees have forcibly been expelled from Iran over the last eighteen months, reports BBC.Similarly the Pakistani authorities have also deported 3400 refugees from their settlements in Balochistan and NWFP over the corresponding period.
According to a survey of the United Nations 92 per cent returnees have settled in their homes while the remaining have lost their homes and are now living in tents.
The survey which was conducted in Afghanistan’s Kabul, Nangarhar, Kunar, Helmand and Kandahar says that 18 per cent of the refugees were of the view that they had returned from Iran and Pakistan due to lack of job.
Over 67 per cent returning refugees said that they opted for repatriation due to non-availability of schools while 56 per cent were confronted with health problems.
Talking to BBC, UNHCR deputy information officer, Ayub Tarin said the returnees are aware of problems still they are convinced to resume normal life back in home.
He said 13100 refugees have been repatriated with the UN assistance over the last 18 months.
He said that UNHCR was trying to help repatriate refugees in terms of providing them drinking water and construction of schools and of launching such projects that could meet returnees’ daily necessities.
However, he urged the international community to help the refugee agency, as the returning Afghan refugees deserved to be assisted by donor agencies.
On Friday the UNHCR said that limited Afghan refugees return their home country and as many as 10,000 uprooted Afghans have returned their homeland voluntarily outside the UN-assisted repatriation programme over the last six months.
ISLAMABAD (NNI): Some seventy-two thousand out of the seventy -seven thousand Afghans are residing illegally in the twin cities, says a survey conducted by the special branch of Capital Territory Police.
According to the statistics collected aimed at taking action against the illegal refugees, it was found that only five thousand of 76932 Afghanis have legal documents.
It may be mentioned here that their presence is not only creating a security risk but are becoming a source of increasing the crimes.
UN allocates large chunk to health services for Iran-based immigrants
MASHED (Agencies): The United Nations Population Fund has allocated 415,000 dollars for health issues of over 200,000 immigrants mostly Afghans residing in Iran for the current year, the UNFPA representative said Friday“Some 240,000 dollars of the total is to be paid by the British department for international development (DFID),” Mohammad Moslehoddin said in an interview.
“Last year, UNFPA earmarked over 250,000 dollars for the same purpose, 50,000 dollars of which paid by DFID,” he said.
Islamabad: Interior Minister, Moinuddin Haider, has said that after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, many of the weapons that came, found its way in the Pakistani society, and that has become a status symbol, and the crime rate went high because of indiscriminate use and display of these weapons.
In a recent interview he said as in civilised society, there should not be so many weapons seen or used. The government decided that time has come now to address this problem. The campaign launched by the government will certainly have good impacts in eliminating the arms culture in the country.
He said that no training camp nor anybody is supposed to carry weapons with them, and there is no exception including the so-called Jehadi groups.
As far as funds are concerned, we have taken lots of measures to curtail this situation of collecting funds on the name of Jehad. Now there will no donation banner throughout the country he added.
On quarry on Islamic groups and madrassas, he said there is no military training in them. “They teach the Quran, Sunnah and the good things of our religion. If any Madrassa will be found indulges in military training, we certainly take action against them” he added
Pak opinion leader sees US interest in India-Pakistan talks process
Islamabad, July 21, IRNA -- Pakistani opinion leader and former Army chief, General (Retd.) Mirza Aslam Beg says US interest in the recently initiated normalization process between India and Pakistan is visible.
In an interview with IRNA Islamabad correspondent, he linked this interest with China factor.
"In the changed environment, where Americans have come to South Asia and want India to play a role in the containment of China - to support American aims and ambitions vis-a-his China, vis-a-vis West Asia, vis-a-vis Central Asia, China decided to challenge American increasing influence in South Asia," Beg observed.
'That is,' he analysed, 'a matter of concern for the United States.'
"US pursuaded both India and Pakistan to find a peaceful solution to Kashmir issue, develop relations and remove tension from South Asia," the retired General said.
Vindicating his assertion, Aslam Beg said that in the next 10 years, China will be depending on oil supplies from the Persian Gulf, - 'upto 80 percent of its requirements.'
For that, China's physical presence 'on Pakistan's coast,' overlooking the Persian Gulf route and the Indian Ocean is important, he assessed.
The former army General saw Beijing's recently promised financial and technical support for developing Gwadar Port, constructing an important coastal road, tapping the Sandak gold and copper fields in the coastal Balochistan province and exploiting the Thar Parker coal mines 'close to the coastal line of Pakistan and India' moving in the same direction. "Now that they (Chinese) are going to enter into a defence pact with Pakistan - or builing military strength in this region, or building up their 'Navy' - the very fact that they will be present here - is a loud reminder to India that if the latter embarks upon the ploy to contain China, it can easily do that by helping Pakistan, by extending its influence into Indian Ocean," he suggested.
Aslam Beg also reminded of India's plan to build a very large armed forces by 2010 'to play the role of a world power in the region and beyond.'
The former chief of Pakistan Army did not contribute to the idea that the last week Agra summit between Pakistan and India had failed.
He just described it a 'failing' on the part of the two Foreign Offices, 'that they could not compile a joint statement.'
"The fact is that there has been broad agreement on some of important issues," he said, adding a reference to the proposed talks between General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee, later this year. "That would be an annual process," Beg said, claiming that both sides would also be exchanging information 'to ensure that whatever is decided at summit, is followed as well."
The Pakistani intellectual said that Kashmir was at the centre of Pak-India tension, which revolves round 'the heart of the problem, which is the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.'
He uttered that there was no military solution to the Kashmir isuse.
"Neither the Indian army nor the Mujahideen can succeed in that," he claimed, asserting that Kashmir settlement was possible only through a dialogue.
Mirza Aslam Beg is sure that 'Iran should be very much watching the regional developments with interest.'
He said development of coastal highway would connect Iran with Pakistan (in terms of trade) and also help construct the Iran-India gas pipeline.
"It helps Iran -- becasue with the development of coastal area, of port and the gas pipeline to Pakistan and India -- I think we all stand together," he opined.
"This is some thing called balancing the geo-political forces in the region for the advantage of all," he further added.
Dwelling upon Afghanistan problem, General (Retd) Aslam Beg said: "the Afghans must be given time and opportunity to form a broad-based government in their country."
He regretted that an international conspiracy was hatched against Afghanistan right since the singing of Geneva Agreement.
"Instead of becoming part of any conspiracy against the Afghan people, we have to reach out to them, like brothers, and say, let us sit down and talks and solve the problem together," he said.
"That is what is the difference of the policy which Pakistan follows with regard to Afghanistan," he said.
DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Tajik security forces killed one of the leaders of an armed group they have battled for a month in the suburbs east of the capital Dushanbe, an Interior Ministry source said on Saturday.
The source said 28-year-old warlord Mansur Muakalov was one of 10 bodies brought to a morgue and identified on Saturday after being killed over several days of clashes.
Muakalov and three other rebel fighters were killed on Friday night during a sweep about 40 km (25 miles) northeast of the capital, the source said. There was no official comment on the matter, and state television did not discuss it.
Tajik government forces have been battling a large armed group led by Muakalov and another warlord, Rakhmon Sanginov, since late June.
The two men were opposition guerrilla leaders during a 1991-97 civil war. They briefly joined the government under a shaky power-sharing deal that ended that conflict, but later resigned, maintaining a band of armed fighters.
The government says their large, armed group was involved in widespread kidnapping, racketeering and other crimes. Sanginov is believed to be still at large.
The source said 50 rebels had been killed and 70 captured in the month-long crackdown.
Dushanbe was quiet on Saturday, with no sign of the fighting visible in the capital. In late June, when fighting broke out on the city's outskirts, streets were closed and police reinforcements were brought in.
U.S. to help improve relations between India, Pakistan: Powell
Islamabad, July 21, IRNA -- The United States says it will do every thing it can to lend its good offices to the improvement of Indo-Pak relations, Pakistan Television reported on Saturday.
It quoted the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powel as saying that Washington would be deeply engaged in the region.
Powell made the statement ahead of his Asian visit, the report further said.
He said the United States would try to have balanced and strong relations with both India and Pakistan
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